This is a great article that covers the copyright laws that freelancers hold and answers the serious question: “Who owns your freelance work?”
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
In many cases, as a freelancer or independent contractor, you are producing work that you have no intention of using again, and have full expectations that the copyright belongs to the client. However, if you have any reservations about handing over full ownership, there are a few things you can do:
- If you see a work made for hire clause in a new contract, ask about it. Tell the client that you’re not sure if the work for hire language is valid—in many cases, clients just use a boilerplate contract without fully understanding the details themselves. You can discuss whether the commissioned work falls under one of the nine categories or not. You can also discuss their concerns, your concerns, and hopefully arrive at a good understanding.
- If you don’t want to give your client full control over the work, then you’re better off licensing the copyright to them. Copyright license agreements need to be very specific and it’s best to have a lawyer help you draft the contract. This option gives you more flexibility such as licensing exclusive rights for first use.
- If you accept the work for hire wording in the contract, make sure it explicitly states that the assignment of copyrights is conditioned upon full payment of the compensation that’s due per contract. In other words, if you don’t get paid, they don’t get the rights.
- And it’s always a good idea to include a provision that gives you rights to show your work for self-promotional purposes, such as include in your portfolio to win other business.
Read the rest of the article here: FreshBooks Blog